AMM-55: ARF 29 – Substantive Dialogue, Extensive Exchange on Regional and Intl Issues

Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son attended the 29th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) that took place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on August 5 within the framework of the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-55), and held several bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the event.

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AMM-55: ARF 29 - Substantive Dialogue, Extensive Exchange on Regional and Intl Issues
The 29th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) opened in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on August 5 with the participation of foreign ministers from countries in the Indo-Pacific region. Source: baoquocte.vn

Established in 1994, the ARF has become an important platform for security dialogue in the Indo-Pacific. It provides a setting in which members can discuss current security issues and develop cooperative measures to enhance peace and security in the region.

Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son joined his ASEAN counterparts in meetings with the US, India, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the EU, and Russia on August 4 within the framework of the AMM-55 and related meetings in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, VNA reported.

The sides spent a great deal of time reviewed cooperation progress, agreed on future orientations, and exchanged views on regional and international situations. ASEAN proposes its partners maximise advantages brought by strategic and comprehensive partnerships, cooperate with the bloc in community building, and strive for common peace, stability and prosperity. .

The countries suggested many extensive and diverse cooperation measures to assist ASEAN in building its community, accelerating recovery, and moving towards sustainable development. These measures covered trade, regional connectivity, digital transformation, climate change response, green growth, health, marine security, and anti-terrorism, among other matters.

AMM-55: ARF 29 - Substantive Dialogue, Extensive Exchange on Regional and Intl Issues
The foreign ministers from 27 countries, including the US, Japan, China and Russia, focus their discussions on regional security, including the conflict in Ukraine and the missile and nuclear weapon programme of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Source: baoquocte.vn

Son and ASEAN foreign ministers (FMs) once again affirmed the consistent stance on the issues of the East Sea, Myanmar, Ukraine, the Korean Peninsula, and tensions between major countries. ASEAN reaffirmed its stance and called on all parties to uphold international law, the Charter of the United Nations, the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982), and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC).

Countries and parties involved need to maintain dialogue, build trust, take peace as the goal and cooperation as a tool, respect the rule of law, exercise restraint, and preventing disagreements and contradictions from becoming conflicts, they said.

ASEAN also informed the partners about its activities to implement the five-point consensus on Myanmar, the progress of building a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), towards building the waters into an area of peace, stability, cooperation and development.

AMM-55: ARF 29 - Substantive Dialogue, Extensive Exchange on Regional and Intl Issues
At the meeting between Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and his US counterpart Antony Blinken. Photo: VNA

During meetings with FMs of other countries on the sidelines of the functions, Son discussed ways to promote cooperation between Vietnam and their respective nations.

The ministers highly appreciated Vietnam’s role in the region and affirmed their desire to expand cooperation with the country.

They proposed a number of measures such as delegation exchange, strengthening of economic – trade relations, and restoration of people-to-people exchanges.

They emphasised a number of areas for joint work such as finance, green economy, circular economy, climate change response, and support for small and medium enterprises.

AMM-55: ARF 29 - Substantive Dialogue, Extensive Exchange on Regional and Intl Issues
Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. Source: baoquocte.vn

In their meeting, Son and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi affirmed the importance of consolidating the Vietnam-China traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation.

They agreed to strengthen all-rounded collaboration and political trust, including high-level and all-level exchanges and interactions, remove obstacles in trade and response to epidemics, connect road and railway, and promote people-to-people exchange.

The Vietnamese FM affirmed that Vietnam persistently follows the One China policy, and together with ASEAN member nations calls on relevant parties to exercise restraint, avoid complicating the situation and escalating tensions, and properly handle disagreements, for peace and stability in the region and the world.

Meeting with Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Son proposed promoting cooperation in the Mekong Subregion.

The two sides agreed to prioritise sustainable management of water resources, climate change response, and cooperate between the Mekong River Commission and the National Ganga River Basin Authority.

AMM-55: ARF 29 - Substantive Dialogue, Extensive Exchange on Regional and Intl Issues
Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. Source: baoquocte.vn

Son and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell appreciated the results achieved during the implementation of the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).

The Vietnamese minister hoped that the EU and its members will soon ratify the EU – Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), remove the yellow card against Vietnamese seafood, and establish Just Energy Transition Partnership with Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Son and his Bangladeshi counterpart A.K Abdul Moment agreed to well celebrate the 50th founding anniversary of diplomatic relations next year, strive to bring two-way trade turnover to USD 2 billion, and strengthen collaboration in agriculture, tourism, culture, education and people-to-people exchanges.

The Vietnamese official suggested the two sides soon organise the third Joint Trade Subcommittee and the second Political Consultation. He also proposed Bangladesh support Vietnam’s candidacy for the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2023-2025 term.

Meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Bilawai Bhutto Zardari, Son agreed on the need to carry out signed agreements, and soon hold a political consultation, and meetings of the intergovernmental committee and trade subcommittee.

He suggested Pakistan consider lifting import restrictions on Vietnamese aquatic products and mobile phones.

The two ministers reached consensus on organising cultural promotion events on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations this year.

Also on this occasion, the ASEAN Foreign Ministers issued a statement on developments in the Taiwan Strait, expressing their concerns about the risk of instability, serious and unpredictable consequences for the region. The statement called for restraint and adherence to the principles of the UN Charter and the TAC.

The ASEAN countries also reaffirmed their support for the “One China” policy; heightened the importance of cooperation, peaceful coexistence and healthy competition for the sake of peace, security, stability, inclusive and sustainable development.

The same day, Son stressed the importance of dialogue, trust, and sense of responsibility while attending the East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

He reaffirmed ASEAN’s principled stance on international issues. He called on countries to help turn the East Sea into a sea of peace and stability, safety and security, and openness and freedom, adding that all disputes must be resolved by peaceful means on the basis of international law and the 1982 UNCLOS.

Vietnam pledged to join other ASEAN members and China to seriously and fully implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and strive to soon finalise an efficient and effective COC in the East Sea that is in line with international law, including the 1982 UNCLOS, he emphasised.

Regarding recent developments in the region, the minister repeated ASEAN and Vietnam’s stance that supports the “One China” policy.

Son noted ASEAN will maintain its engagement with Myanmar, and that the ASEAN Chair’s special envoy will strive to access and help to fully implement the Five-Point Consensus among ASEAN leaders.

Hannah Nguyen